The Political Life of Children

Robert Coles, Author, Peter Davison, Editor Atlantic Monthly Press $19.95 (341p) ISBN 978-0-87113-035-8
Children only four or five years of age are capable of developing outspoken, blunt and imaginative political views. Coles, in this companion volume to The Moral Life of Children (reviewed above), explores young people's developing political consciousness. A 12-year-old Hopi Indian girl despairs, ""Everything, everyone is the white man's.'' A Cambodian in Boston who saw his parents killed when he was five struggles to make sense of two worlds. Children's political views, Coles insists, aren't always a carbon copy of those of their parents or other adults. In Poland, where the government tries to indoctrinate kids into Communism, a girl fantasizes dropping a Soviet missile on Warsaw bureaucrats whom she despises. On the other hand, there is depressing evidence that a cycle of hatred continues in Belfast and South Africa, where children mirror their parents' racial or religious divisiveness. Proof of the abiding power of nationalism is found in conversations with Nicaraguan, French Canadian and American children. January 28
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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